When you need to boil water over an open campfire, it’s easy enough to set a single-walled metal pot or bottle directly at the base of the fire. Although this will get your water boiling quickly, it also has some downsides. The application of heat is too direct and extreme for more precise cooking, so you’ll be more likely to burn food if you cook this way. It also exposes open vessels to smoke and ash from the fire, and can make recovering your vessel without burning your hands tricky.

An easy solution to these issues is to suspend your pot or bottle above the fire, taking advantage of radiant heat rather than intense flames. A wire hanger, also known as a bail, allows the pot to be suspended from above without tipping over. However, many pots and bottles lack this feature.

Many camp cups, such as this one from GSI Outdoors, have side handles but no bail hanger.

Many camp cups, such as this one from GSI Outdoors, have side handles but no central bail hanger.

We’ve seen many methods of adding bail hangers to camp cookware. Some require drilling holes or soldering on tabs, while others require combinations of hooks and screwed-together clamps. The following video from Far North Bushcraft and Survival shows one of the simplest methods we’ve seen, and one that looks to be very effective with a variety of vessels.

Cooking pot bail cable handle wire hanger camping fire survival 1

Lonnie combines 3 feet of 1/16″ steel cable and two 1/16″ ferrules from the hardware store to create a removable pot bail hanger that will fit any vessel with a rolled rim. Once they’re clamped in place around the cable ends, the ferrules can adjust to fit various types of cookware. So, you’d likely only need one bail for your entire mess kit.

Check out the video below to see how it’s done:


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